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Texas Boutique Owner Hurls Homophobic Slurs at Couple in Viral Video

Evan Berryhill-Jewell of Texas Angels Boutique

A Texas business owner has come under fire for a bigoted outburst toward an LGBTQ+ couple in their apartment complex after a video of her drunken attack circulated on social media. The incident is the latest in a string of attacks on LGBTQ+ people who are otherwise just living their lives.

Last Tuesday, Charles Hardy and his partner had just returned to their San Angelo home from a birthday dinner for the latter, when, Hardy tells The Advocate, around 9 p.m. while they were walking from their car to a nearby trash container, a speeding vehicle nearly ran them over.

The driver, identified as Evan Berryhill-Jewell, double-parked her car and then began lashing out at the couple, with particular ire directed at Hardy, a transgender man.

Berryhill-Jewell is the owner of Texas Angels Boutique in San Angelo.

Hardy captured what happened next in a video shared widely by popular TikTok user Danesh. Danesh has a history of calling out those who demonstrate bigoted and illegal behavior in public. Under the username thatdaneshguy, the influencer shared video of the incident with more than 1 million of his followers across TikTok, Instagram and Twitter. It has been viewed nearly 500,000 times.

In the clip, Berryhill-Jewell repeatedly approaches and aggressively touches Hardy, even after being asked to stop. Finally, she gets in his face and talks about his appearance and sexuality with slurred speech.

"You fucking faggots need to learn that equality is what I got," her rant begins. "How are you any better than me?"

She declares "Republican all the way, baby," and continues to make derogatory comments.

"Will we gross you out enough to move over one space?" Hardy asks as she approaches her car. Berryhill-Jewell refuses.  

"I don't give a fuck that y'all are faggots," she begins again. "Sorry, not sorry. Y'all are faggots." 

The video cuts off after about two minutes. Hardy says he shared the entire 14-minute-long video with police.

Initially, when San Angelo Police officers arrived, the couple declined to press assault charges because they were anxious and wanted her to leave them alone, he says. But, later in the night, Berryhill-Jewell stuck Post-It notes with slurs, including “faggot,” on his door and their vehicles, at which point he called cops again and committed to pursuing charges..

A spokesperson for the San Angelo Police department confirmed to The Advocate that police responded to the location twice but that according to Texas law, since no crime occurred in the presence of officers, no warrantless arrest could be made. Officers did provide the paperwork necessary to file charges.

Tom Green County prosecutor Chris Taylor tells The Advocate that while he has not yet received anything from law enforcement, he is aware of the incident and will keep an eye out for the report.

"Any reports sent over are thoroughly reviewed and filed if there is probable cause to do so," Taylor says. "We take all such incidents very seriously."

Hardy says that as a trans person in conservative Texas, he's used to being laughed at or made fun of, and that while hurtful, those aren’t crimes.

But, he notes that the vitriol directed at him has increased in recent months, culminating in the physical and verbal assault they suffered.

"I'm from Dallas, which is conservative but less conservative than San Angelo," Hardy said. "My partner is from [San Angelo], and never in their life has it been this bad.”

Hardy says that he believes the uptick in attacks on the LGBTQ+ community is due to an increase in homopohobic and transphobic rhetoric (as well as policy) spewed by conservative lawmakers in the state.

"It's hard, it's very hard," Hardy said while becoming emotional. "My partner asked Ms. Berryhill to stop, because they have terrible anxiety, and instead of having compassion, she just mocked them and exacerbated the situation."

Recently, Pride Media's editorial director of print, Neal Broverman, and his husband Robbie Pierce, endured an attack for being gay on an AMTRAK train in California while traveling with their two small children. As The Advocate reported, a man aboard began berating the couple's children, warning them that their fathers were "rapists" and "stealing Black and Asian children." Pride Media is the parent company of The Advocate. 

On April 9, Saoirse Gowan was riding the metro in Washington, D.C. when a man took out his phone and began live-streaming himself harassing the transgender woman. Gowan documented the interaction in a video posted to social media, which has received more than 600,000 views on Twitter. 

The unidentified man is sitting across from her on the train, gets up and approaches Gowan, and begins to harass her, as onlookers watch without intervening.

"You're a sick fuck," the unidentified man begins. "You're a white man, and you're a sick fuck," he shouts at her. "You don't belong in this fucking metro." He says that Gowan was there only to look at Black children as "sex objects" – a common refrain stemming from conservative pundits' claim that LGBTQ+ people are grooming children for sexual reasons.

After more than a minute, a Metro Transit Policeman boards and the man takes his seat. Sensing the tension, the officer asks if everything is alright, to which Gowan responds that the man was harassing her. The video then cuts off. 

Scott McCoy, Interim Deputy Legal Director LGBTQ Rights & Special Litigation for the Southern Poverty Law Center, tells The Advocate that the organization is tracking hate activity directed at LGBTQ+ people and has seen an increase in attacks directed at the community.

"The anti-LGBTQ legislation alone this year has been potentially recording breaking, and this, coupled with the labeling of those opposed to this legislation as ‘groomers’ by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' press secretary, has really unmasked how Republican lawmakers introducing these bills really see the LGBTQ community,” McCoy says.

He says attacks like the one on Pierce and Broverman are troubling.

In 2020, the Williams Institute at UCLA, found that LGBTQ+ people are four times more likely than others to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault. 

"[This is] staggering to think about in the face of such slanderous accusations being made by right-wing media and Republican public officials," McCoy adds. "It's pretty clear that as the public discourse on trans rights is being co-opted by the right around Transgender narratives, that the real-world consequences of this are already happening.”

Berryhill-Jewell posted an apology to Facebook in which she blames alcohol and says she has gay friends. The post was poorly received and subsequently deleted.

The Advocate reached out to Berryhill-Jewell for comment, but she did not return messages in time for publication.

Tags: News, Texas

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